Hello El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos!

Located on busy Aviation Blvd in Redondo Beach is the equally busy El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos! The taco shop just opened up this summer and officially had it’s grand opening today, September 1. Ever since it’s opening one can see the hustle and bustle of folks coming in and out to enjoy the taqueria.

The brains behind the new eatery are actually two culinary personnel very familiar with the South Bay scene; Ulises Pineda-Alfaro and Jesse Duron. They both work at Umi by Hamasaku, a sushi restaurant located at The Point in El Segundo. Pineda-Alfaro is the chef and Duron is the general manager of the sushi restaurant. Both thought it was time to bring some good tacos to the South Bay and good tacos they indeed brought.

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The menu primarily focuses on eight tacos: Gobernador (shrimp), Carne (mesquite grilled hangar steak), Birria (stewed US Wagyu beef), Al Pastor (split roasted Beelers pork), Pork Belly carnitas (crispy pork belly), Chicken Tinga (Mary’s chicken), Cauliflower con Mole (roasted cauliflower) and Nopal (Roasted cauliflower)

The tacos are all served on housemaid corn tortilla and you can actually see them make the tortillas right there. They are made using masa from heirloom, non-GMO corn raised by a collective of family farms in Oaxaca, sourced through the Sawtelle masa company Masienda. I will have to say these tortillas are the best. Fresh and warm; they’re excellent no matter what meat you choose.

Speaking of meat; each of their meat is perfect topped with sauces or cheeses that truly compliment their flavoring. The Birria; US Wagyu beef brisket comes with oozing tomato salsa emulsion while the Pork Belly Carnitas have tomatillo salsa and cilantro. They’re simply delightfully delicious.

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Aside from tacos they also have Mulitas which are served on two if the housemaid tortillas and come with melted cheese, escabeche and salsa. You can choose one of the eight meat offerings.

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They also have Tortas which are served on artisan Telera roll, shaved lettuce, onion, tomato, guacamole crema, salsa and pickle escabeche. These tortas are gigantic. They’re not only big on size but big on fillings and taste!

No matter whether you want a taco, mulita or torta; you will sure to love this new neighborhood taqueria. The grand opening today is offering 50% off all taco, mulitas and tortas. Adelante on over to El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos!

For more smiles, please my Yelp Review on El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos and check out the El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos website.

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Hello Calo Kitchen and Tequila!

Ever since Apollo Landing opened up in El Segundo, I have eagerly awaited for what restaurants would be added to the plaza. They were already home to my favorite Philz Coffee El Segundo and Shake Shack; and I was excited to see what other delights would be coming. I’m happy to say that the new Calo Kitchen that opened up is now on the top of my favorite restaurants ever.

Calo Kitchen just opened up this Fall 2018 and it is already one place that I really love and enjoy dining at. It’s a beautiful two-story restaurant with the bottom floor dedicated to an open kitchen and bar and the second floor dedicated to a more private setting with a view. Not only is the restaurant modern and chic; the service and food is top-notch.

I love anything “From The Grill.” My favorite is  their Short Rib Enchiladas. This is the entree that they have me wanting to come back here again and again.

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The Short Rib Enchiladas are topped crispy onions and home-made creamy short rib sauce. Their short rib sauce truly makes this dish a winner. It brings so much flavor to the dish. I also liked the touch of crispy onions as it brings a nice pleasant crunch to the enchiladas. The short rib inside itself is perfectly tender. This dish comes with rice and their fabulous black beans! (Note: The black beans are also served complimentary with their chips and they are simply to die for. They are made with pork broth and definitely one of the tastiest beans I’ve ever had!)

Another favorite dish of mine is Carmelita’s Ribeye Tacos.

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These are no ordinary tacos! The ribeye comes in small skillet. There are tender strips of ribeye baked over melted cheese, mushrooms, and onions. It comes with your choice of flour or corn tortillas as well as guacamole, rice and beans. It reminds me slightly of a fajitas yet is different because of the melted cheese. It’s tasty, unique and just simply delightful!

The savory dishes are a winner but one shouldn’t pass off the sweets either. Save room for dessert folks!

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The churros here are special. They come with a surprise in the middle and as you bite in, dulce de leche filling oozes out. These hot and crunchy churros are then topped with vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate. It’s a dessert lovers dream come true!

Even the cappuccino at Calo Kitchen is amazing.

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The cappuccino has hints of dark chocolate and a perfect way to end a meal here.

Overall Calo Kitchen is one of my favorite places to open up this 2018 and I cannot wait to be here again!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Calo Kitchen and Tequila.

Hello Tocaya Organica at The Point!

Ever since The Point opened up in El Segundo, California; I have been a fan! It truly is a premier destination to shop and dine at.  From Italian pastas at North Italia to burgers at Hopdoddy;  this Hello Kitty Foodie has enjoyed it all.  Adding on to the diverse dining family at The Point is yet another wonderful restaurant; Tocaya Organica.

First founded in Venice in 2016, Tocaya Organica also has locations in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Playa Vista and Century City. This Tocaya Organica at The Point is the sixth Tocaya Organica location.

Tocaya Organica is a modern organic Mexican restaurant that is all about always sustainable, always fresh, always sustainable cuisine. They offer a variety of salads, tacos, bowls and burritos that are made out of the highest quality ingredients paired with bold flavors.

One of the things I enjoyed at Tocaya Organica is the ability to customize your taco, bowl or burrito with your choice of protein or queso. For meats, you have a variety of choices from carne asada to vegan picadillo. Cheese choices range from queso fresco to vegan chipotle jack.

For the bowls, one of their most popular items is the Fajita Del Rey bowl.

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The Fajita Del Rey bowl comes with sautéed poblano peppers, onions, spanish rice, black beans, vegan chipotle cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. I chose to get it with Tocaya Organic’s very special vegan picadillo. This is their own picadillo recipe featuring their house made pea-based protein that has  carrots, zucchini, onions, potatoes & tomatoes. The picadillo was made perfectly. It was soft and tasty and went well with the rice and guacamole. I combined this with the zesty flavors of tapioca, arrowroot & chipotle that came from the Vegan chipotle jack. This bowl full of vegan delights was simply amazing.

The bowls are awesome but so are their tacos too. I highly recommend getting their taco combo plate which gives you a little taste of everything because it comes with your choice of two sides and a drink.

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For the tacos, similar to the bowls; you can choose your protein and queso. I got the Cali Green taco with marinated shredded beef and manchego cheese and the Barrio Style taco with achiote chicken and jalepeno jack. Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays friends! If you dine at Tocaya Organica; you’ll want them every day! The bold flavors of the tacos are sure to please your palate. Pair these up with some of their amazing sides and you’ll sure to be in heaven. I truly enjoyed by side of tortilla soup that had large chunks of avocado inside along with tomato, roasted bell pepper, vegan mozzarella and crispy tortilla strips. I also had a side of their soft and sweet corn tamale. Tacos plus sides equals happy foodie, happy tummy. Best of all this is all healthy! Healthy, happy eats!

As I mentioned, the taco combination comes with a drink as well. You do not want to miss their great iced teas, aguas frescas and limeades. My favorite is the watermelon but their cucumber mint and strawberry basil are also very refreshing!

Tocaya Organica at The Point is a great place to enjoy customized organic Mexican eats. It’s a wonderful addition to one of the best plazas in El Segundo!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Tocaya Organica at The Point.

Hello Yelp Elite Event: Cocktails & Cars Casino Royale Style!

So fancy! Busted out the cocktail dress, dancing shoes for one special night last night at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo. It was the Cocktails and Cars Casino Royale Style Yelp Elite Event to kick off spring!

With the amazing drop box of this premier museum showcasing cherished old automobiles, all of us Yelp elites were in for one amazing treat. The night was full of entertainment and good times. Todd Elliot Entertainment brought a magician for some magic and amazement. The Swing Dames brought us back to the 40s’ with their lovely voices and LA Pix DJs had us all dancin’ the night away.

It was also foodie galore with some fabulous food booths. Feelin’ fancy and feelin’ full after all the delicious treats!

From Pink’s Hot Dogs, I got to enjoy a turkey dog with chili and cheese. Hearty, meaty and simply classic just like the classic cars we were surround with. It was perfect with Essentia Water

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Wanu Water put a little more fun in the night with their black cherry and peach passion water. 10 essential nutrients and 10 calories per serving!

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Tacos Primo gave us the VIP treatment with fresh made carne asada beef and  al pastor pork.

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These tacos were the perfect match with Siete tortilla chips.

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New York Food Company booth brought out soft and savory kimchi pork buns and cucumber shots.

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The fancy night continued with some fabulous drinks.

I was introduced to Tentera Coffee Roasters and instantly became a fan because of their good cause. Tentera means ‘good causes’. 2% of all Tentera coffee sales are currently donated to their partners which include the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and 1% For The Planet. I loved their pour over coffee and how I instantly had a fresh brewed medium roast.

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More fun drinks were to be found at Happy Lemon. Salted cheese drinks are their most popular offering and I was so happy to see that along with their Sunmerry Bakery rainbow roll cake.

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The rainbow roll cake from Happy Lemon was just the start of the delightful desserts that evening because there were not one but two places to get ice cream!

Smitten Ice Cream brought out some of their best flavored nitrogen ice cream flavors such as earl grey, cookie dough with pretzels and chocolate chips, strawberry buttermilk. They even had their chocolate vegan pops! I chose to get my all time uh-mazing favorite the cookie dough with pretzels and chocolate chips. I drizzled some brown sugar caramel over the ice cream and was in sweet heaven!

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Not to be outdone was Wanderlust Creamery. I felt like as I was in an around the world trip as I had Ube Malted Crunch flavor inspired by the Philippines, Sticky Rice Mango inspired by Thailand and Japanese Neopolitan inspired by Japan. The Ube Malted Crunch had malted milk and real sweet purple jam. The Sticky Rice mango had house made real milk coconut cream and swirls of alphonso mango puree. The Japanese Neopolitan had a trio of Japanese classics; match, hojica and black sesame.

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Cookie Zombie  incorporated our favorite kid snacks into their cookies! That night they had Snack Time cookies that had King size Twix, salty pretzels and Heath Bar bits, Circus animal cookies with Circus Animal bits; and Cookies and Cream can lies with Crushed Oreo cookies & Ghirardelli white chocolate chips. Their Cookies and Cream cookies were the winner of Best Homemade Cookie at Cookie Con LA!

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Cheesecake de Granger had cheesecake cupcakes. They had lemon, Welch’s grape and peanut butter and jelly cheesecake cupcakes!

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From entertainment to food; The Automobile Driving Museum was one happening place that evening. Surrounded with 130 plus vintage, antique and muscle cars; it was one classic evening. I could not have asked for a better way to kick off spring!

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For more smiles, please see my Yelp Review  on Cocktails and Cars Casino Royale Style Yelp Elite event.

Hello Frida Mexican Cuisine @ Del Amo!

When Del Amo Fashion Center had their Expansion Opening Celebration back in October, I was one of the many who was excited about all the upcoming new hot spots that would be opening up at the mall. Many amazing restaurants were in the line up! Just right before the holidays, one of the highly anticipated eateries opened up and this is no other than Frida Mexican Cusine.

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Frida is a popular Mexican restaurant with locations already in Beverly Hills and Westwood. It is headed by Chef Vincent Del Rio who’s concept is “Mexican gastronomy is an art.” He brings out authentic Mexcian cuisine full of traditional flavors and ingredients from his homeland Mexico City.

Hearing about the wonderful food from the Beverly Hills and Westwood location, I was very eager to try the new Del Amo location and I recently had the pleasure of doing so.

The meal here starts off with a delicious complimentary chips and salsa. They’ve got red and green salsa for your tasting buds pleasure. The red salsa has a tomatillo like taste while the green salsa has a lime like flavor.

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The savory menu consists of indeed many traditional delicious Mexican “Entradas” such as Consome de Pollo, chicken broth served with vegetables, rice and chicken and Burrito campechano, a burrito combo of marinated grilled chicken and beef sirloin with rice, beans, lettuce, sour cream, queso fresco and guacamole, wrapped in a flour tortilla.

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I happened to come on Tuesday and it seemed that tacos would be appropriate. Taco Tuesdays always makes me smile. Their traditional tacos come in soft tortillas but I chose to get the crispy taco version, one chicken and one beef.

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I liked how their tacos were topped off with lots of fresh lettuce, tomatoes and white cheese. Underneath there was plenty of tender shredded meat.

I also wanted to try a variety of their other items and chose to get the Frida platter with some friends.

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The Frida platter consist of crispy taquitos, quesadillas, mini sole and guacamole.  The guacamole is made fresh and this was perfect on top of all the appetizers! The quesadillas was oozing with white cheddar inside. The mini sole were cute and yummy small tostadas topped with similar lettuce, tomatoes and cheese that were found in the tacos. My favorite of the whole platter had to be the taquitos. The taquitos were crispy, crunchy and simply wonderful. It was filled with lots of tender chicken and drizzled on top was tasty sour cream. The guacamole on top of the taquitos was like icing on the cake! Just the perfect topping for a treat.

Not to be outdone is the Drinks menu at Frida.

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Frida Del Amo offers happy hour on weekdays from 3 to 6pm and 9pm to closing.

They’ve got various handcrafted drinks and specialties. I chose to get a virgin mango margarita.

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It was one refreshing drink and the taste of mango hits the taste buds right at first sip.

I really enjoyed my very first trip to new Frida Del Amo. It was not hard to see why Frida has been so popular since the opening up of it’s flagship restaurant in Beverly Hills. Everything I tried here was delicious and I could really tell that they used the freshest and highest quality ingredients. One can really see that “Mexican gastronomy is an art.” From the beautiful plating of dishes to the savory flavors, I was truly impressed. I was full of smiles at the end of my meal and cannot wait to be back!

Thank you Frida Mexican Cusiine for a wonderful night. This is a great addition to Del Amo Fashion Center!

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For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Frida Mexican Cuisine @ Del Amo.

 

 

 

Hello Tom’s Tacos!

Hello and Happy National Taco Day!

What better way to celebrate taco day then some delicious tacos and a blog post about them!

This Hello Kitty Foodie celebrated National Taco Day with some crunchy treats from Tom’s Tacos.

Tom’s Tacos is the “Home of the Hardshell Tacos and Fresh Salsa.”

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Tom’s Tacos sounds a lot like the famous Tito’s Tacos in Culver City, right? That is no concidence. The very first Tom’s Tacos was once Tito’s Tacos in Orange County. The story of Tom’s Tacos started when a. fan of Tito’s Tacos, bought Tito’s Tacos OC location. Being such a big taco fan, he decided to offer the same menu as Tito’s Tacos and as well as some other yummy treats like tostadas and nachos! Tom’s Tacos offers same great taste as Tito’s Tacos and more!

Although originally located in Anaheim, Tom’s Tacos moved to Torrance, California this 2015. This move was of much delight to this Hello Kitty Foodie. Being a South Bay native, I welcomed this location change. I’ve been wanting to come check out Tom’s Tacos for sometime and finally the time came and just in time for National Taco Day!

My orders consisted of one beef taco with cheese, one chicken taco with cheese and taquitos! From the start, I was impressed. I was presented with a box full of crunchy delights! Their tacos are indeed special! The crispy shell was filled with lots of tender meat, fresh lettuce and tasty shredded cheese. The beef was savory and the chicken was tender. It’s hard for me to say which taco version was my favorite because I was a fan of both. Topping the tacos with the fresh salsa added a nice touch.

The taquitos which came with a side of guacamole was also a nice treat. The taquitos had that nice crisp on the outside and there was a good serving of meat inside. Dipping it in guacamole enhanced the flavor of the taquito even more.

Trying out Tom’s Tacos to celebrate National Taco Day was perfect. The tacos I tried are some of the tastiest I’ve ever tried. I loved how fresh everything was. Their made to order tacos that comes with housemade salsa was truly a winner. I sure was full of smiles for National Taco Day thanks to Tom’s Tacos.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Tom’s Tacos.

Hello Yummy Spot!

There’s a new yummy spot in town and they’re called The Yummy Spot! The Yummy Spot Restaurant and Cafe is located in Torrance, California and offers gourmet tacos, pastas, salads and snacks.

Walking in the restaurant is not hard to like because it is so cute and cozy. There are pretty lights hanging above, comfy cute pillows on their benches and neat pop art and signs all aroundl!

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Up front the restaurant gives complimentary chips and salsa. The chips are hot and fresh and best eaten right away. The salsa is fairly mild but can be made spicier upon request. By default, they give the red salsa but they will give green salsa if requested.

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There’s three types of pastas served here. There is a Yummy Pasta with sirloin steak, a Carnitas Bolognese Pasta with braised pork and a Shrimp and Three cheese pasta. The Yummy Pasta and Carnitas Bolognese are mixed in tomato sauce while the Shrimp and Three cheese pasta is with white sauce. All pasta entrees are served with garlic bread and salad.

The salad is simple and is topped with tomatoes and croutons. The dressing is very yummy and definitely gives a lot of definition and flavor to salad. It has a good sweet flavor.

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Out of the pasta entrees, I got to try the Shrimp and Three Cheese Pasta. I am a fan of white sauce and their version of version of white sauce is so creamy. I loved the mix of Fontana cheddar, parmesan and Chili flakes mixed in to.  The side garlic bread was perfect when dipped in the sauce! The bread is buttery, full of garlic and perfectly crispy on the outside.

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Aside from the pasta, I tried their gourmet tacos here as well! I tried the Carnitas Taco, the Vege Potato Taco and the Sesame Beef Taco.

The Carnitas Taco consisted of pork cilantro mayo, crema, lettuce, pickled onion, cilantro and cheddar. There’s a lot of cream in this little taco! The crema helped enhance the already flavorful braised pork! This was one good taco.

The Vege Potato Taco is a winning taco for vegetarians! It has spiced potato, red salsa, guacamole, creme, lettuce and tomato. i was a fan of the thick potato wedges!

The Sesame Beef Taco was my personal favorite! This had beef, sesame seeds, smoky napa cabbage, scallion and fried garlic! At first bite, the flavor of the sesame could be tasted instantly! There was a nice sweet aftertaste enhanced even more by the scallion and fried garlic. The beef is similar to Korean bbq.

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My trip to Yummy Spot ended with one sweet treat via their beignets! Their beignets are so soft and fluffy! They serve these deep fried goodies fresh and hot with lots of powdered sugar. i got it with tropical sauce and strawberries! The tropical sauce is a good, sweet dip and the strawberries are fresh but even without these extras, the beignets alone are heavenly!

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Hello Kitty Foodie found this place to be very yummy and was full of smiles after eating here!

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on The Yummy Spot!